Today Microsoft and Arkadium, a developer of casual and social games (as well as socially casual games), announced a multi-year, multi-game publishing agreement. Microsoft Studios will bring several of Arkadium’s titles to multiple unnamed platforms over the next few years. Truth be told, the platforms have names, but the two companies just aren't sharing them yet.
Arkadium’s expertise is with highly casual Facebook and Flash games – they haven’t made of an impression in the mobile arena yet. Still, this agreement could be extremely promising. Arkadium’s best known title, Mahjongg Dimensions, is their single iPhone game of note (pictured below) and an extremely good candidate for a Windows Phone port. Dimensions basically brings the classic game of mahjong solitaire (AKA Shanghai) to the third dimension, allowing players to rotate the field of mahjong tiles as they search for matching pairs. Mahjongg Dimensions would also translate easily to Xbox Live Arcade, maybe even with Kinect support.
As for Arkadium’s hefty library of Flash games, Dethtris (pictured at top) would most appeal to the mainstream crowd. It mixes platforming with the falling block genre – kind of a reverse take on Tetris Plus. Here, players take on the role of a hapless young explorer as he runs, jumps, and climbs through bite-sized jungle-themed levels, collecting treasure and dodging giant falling blocks along the way. Dethtris could work on mobile phones thanks to its simple controls and short levels, but an Xbox Live Arcade release is even more likely. We’ve seen such a transition before with last year’s XBLA port of Fancy Pants Adventures, another Flash platformer from Armor Games and EA.
Of course, Arkadium’s press release does not mention actual titles, so that’s my own speculation. But the release does spell out the reasoning for both parties behind the deal. Arkadium wants to expand their development to new platforms, while Microsoft hungers for a piece of the social games pie. Hey, maybe the partnership will motivate the big MS to finally bring some actual social features to Windows Phone games! We can only dream…
Head past the break for the full press release.